100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Fuse Live!

I recently visited New York to meet up with some college friends (see also: playing soccer, watching televised soccer, and watching live soccer) and figured I’d take the opportunity to visit excellent children’s librarian and A Fuse #8 Production blogger Elizabeth Bird. Plans set, I made my way to the main branch of the New York Public Library with camera in hand. Surprisingly, I made it there from Queens without any form of hand-holding or step-by-step instructions. Given my sense of direction (or lack thereof) this was an amazing feat in itself. This is what I saw.

The Lions:

It turned out to be a great day. Sunny. Warm. Patience and Fortitude were lookin’ real photogenic out on the front steps.

The Children’s Center:

Betsy works in a dedicated children’s room, separate from the rest of the library. Little known fact (to me, at least): the children’s center has the only collection in the main branch that circulates. Titles in the other areas don’t see the light of day. The room houses the original Winnie-the-Pooh animals and has a fine mural running along the top of the wall.

The Fuse:

After a brief tour (and a comforting reminder that mine isn’t the only office with unruly stacks of to-process books), it was off to lunch we went. You may not be aware, but Betsy has in her possession a magic satchel that can produce both food and an endless stream of new books. How she came upon this satchel remains a mystery. Topics of conversation included:

The Baby Bird. Still in galley form, the final version is set to publish next month. We talked names, of course, and I always enjoy the opportunity to explain the children’s lit source of my daughter’s name, Lina (extra credit for anyone who can pin that one down).

Betsy’s Upcoming Books. It was fun to get the lowdown on Giant Dance Party (which will be released in Spring of 2012) and her behind the scenes look at children’s literature, co-authored by fantastic bloggers Julie Danielson and Peter Sieruta. I’ll be checking for these in the future.

New Books. Out of said magic satchel came Ellray Jakes Is Not a Chicken!, Marty McGuire (a new lower level chapter book by Kate Messner and Brian Floca), and Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets. We also talked about the new Jack Gantos title Dead End in Norvelt. I was able to relay my friend’s story of hanging with Gantos backstage at an Aerosmith concert. We agreed that that sounded about right.

Cool Children’s Lit Movie News. Betsy’s husband is a screenwriter (you can check out his blog, Cockeyed Caravan) and we briefly talked about a new project he’s working on with extremely cool children’s lit ties. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it to the ol’ Fuse to fill you in at a later date.

Oatmeal and Date Cookies. Uh, not a topic of conversation, but totally worth mentioning. That was a great cookie.

The Book:

Before we parted ways, I had to get a look at “The Book”, a leather bound square number that authors and illustrators sign when they visit the children’s room. A great browse for any children’s lit fan. Heavy hitters and familiar names abound.

Dan Santat and Eric Carle

Stephen Savage and Mo Willems

Ben Hatke (who I hear does a mean backflip)

And with that, I made my exit.
Thanks, Betsy, for letting me barge in!

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Would your daughter’s name by any chance have been inspired by Lina, star of Jeanne duPrau’s The City of Ember?

  2. Laura W. says:

    I visited the NYPL on spring break last month and had a lovely tour. What an amazing place.

  3. Wow! What a supercool trip for a kid’s book lover! Next time you have to go to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Thanks for sharing pictures from THE BOOK.

  4. Next time I’m in NY, I’ll definitely have to visit the Lions and the children’s center. And I’ll be watching your posts for updates about the film project involving children’s literature. My son is in stop-motion animation and we loved what was done with Fantastic Mr. Fox!

    • I agree re: Fantastic Mr. Fox – some good ol’ stop motion never hurt anyone.

  5. Great post! I really admire Betsy’s blog and I buy her book recommendations for my 5th grader. What fun to meet up with her! And thank you for sharing the author guest book…she gets the coolest guests!

    • Travis says:

      Yeah, it’s a great collection – very fun to go through. I had to stop myself from photographing every page.

  6. City of Ember, by Jeanne duPrau! A fine figure to name your daughter after!
    Thanks for the glimpse into life at the NYC Public Library.
    My favorite line: “The Baby Bird. Still in galley form, the final version is set to publish next month.”
    So, that’s the laydown date, huh? Best wishes to Betsy and Mr. Fuse for a safe & speedy delivery.

  7. Thanks, Ruth! And thanks so much for coming on by, Travis. The best part of my job is geting to see folks visiting from all around the country.

    I like the idea of my upcoming release being referred to as “in galley form”. Only it feels like one of those ARCs where they don’t let you see the cover until you get the final product.